Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Girl I Used To Be

I can almost taste the California smog, when I think back. I was 18, I worked at Disneyland. I was driving down the 405 in my 1984 Ford LTD with the windows rolled down, my cowboy boots on, and country music blaring from the speakers. Sometimes it was Stevie Nicks, or Aerosmith. Hey, I'm an eclectic kinda girl.

I weighed all of 110 pounds. My hair was dyed a dark reddish brown color. I could fit into really small jeans. Jeans I finally threw out, along with the hope of my 18 year old body ever returning.

I remember getting my first tattoo. I remember being afraid to get anything pierced. I remember thinking that Val Kilmer was HOT! I remember the feeling of being attractive, of getting attention just for being young and cute. I remember the surprise of that. I was kind of a geek as a kid, and generally good-looking guys that I went to school with knew that socially speaking, I wasn't their best pick. It was so strange getting out of high school and finding out that I was attractive. I never quite knew what to do with that.

I remember the exitement of a crush. Of finding out that he was interested too. Of first dates, and first kisses. I remember the heat under my skin, just from thinking about someone that I liked. I remember getting e-mails from a secret admirer. I never did find out who he was. But they made me feel good.

I wanted to go on Safari in Africa. I wanted to go to South America and find ruins in the jungle. I wanted to backpack across Europe, seeing artwork and cathedrals. I wanted to camp in every National Park. I wanted to see the pyramids in Egypt. I wanted to walk through Jerusalem. I wanted to see the Scottish Highlands, and all of Ireland. I wanted to ride in a gondola under the Bridge of Sighs in Venice, and I wanted to drink espresso in a cafe in Paris.

Of course, I remember I also had an incredible longing to be settled. And I remember an incredible frustration with the guys I went out with, who seemed to desire a life without the anchor of family. And exasperation when I'd go out with a guy who was totally hot, only to find out that he was also a jackass.

But then I remember the freedom of being able to get in my car and go. No kids. No one to worry about. No snow. I still miss that sometimes.

I miss listening to Tori Amos and getting lost. I miss feeling things intensely, and empathizing so deeply I could come to know someone in only an evening, and make a friend for life.

I had a dream a couple of nights ago that has stuck with me. And not because of who was in it, since that kinda freaked me out a little bit, but because of how the dream made me feel. I felt young, excited, attractive, even sexy. Moreover, I felt.

I've been looking at myself for the last day and a half and trying to remember who I am. Here I'm mom. I have sinks to shine, and sandwiches to make, and diapers to change. But I know what mom can become! I have a mom! I can't get lost in mom. I have to remember Anne! The last time I think I really felt attractive was Superbowl Sunday. I stopped at a Jack in the Box in CA to pick up something, and the guy in the drive through window started flirting with me. I was so stunned, I didn't know what to do. I can't remember the last time that happened!

Now, granted, I think I'm a heck of a lot healthier than I was at 14 or 16 or even 18 or 20. I have some understanding that everything is not all about now. I know where God is in my life. I know that I don't need the uber-hot guy, or the super-older guy to make me special. I'm special just by virtue of being Dominic's wife, my kids' mom, and a child of God. So I suppose there are things about every age and every stage that one likes and dislikes. Things we'd like to do again, and things we wish we'd never done.

But would it be wrong to want to fly down the highway with the wind in my hair, my cowboy boots on, and the radio blaring?

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